Discuss giving faculty and staff an extra paycheck in appreciation of their work during Covid. School Board member Tankeia Palmer added this item to the agenda because she thought that this would be a great way to show appreciation to our employees for all the hard work and perseverance they have put in this school year.
Employees enter into buildings on a daily basis where the ventilation is not that good and they are interacting with a lot of people in a day’s time. The PPE hasn’t been 100% effective and being in close contact with others in an environment where you can’t detect where Covid might be lingering has got to be mentally physically and emotionally draining. They are not only thinking about themselves but the students, other staff, and their own children and family members. It’s like they’ve been thrown on a battlefield on a daily basis. Palmer feels they deserve a monetary appreciation for enduring. She added that if anyone feels or thinks they are sufficient with their salaries bonuses and MFP stipend you’re sadly mistaken in a pandemic or not, the school district should always if it financially can, show them its appreciation for their service. It was mentioned that there may be stipulations on the Covid relief money but Palmer said the teachers are listening to the board and they see more employees being hired for different positions and it’s discouraging because the district is getting money, but it’s not fair because the district should find a way to give them something.
Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi said other districts have already put this out there and that some of them saw an increase in tax revenue, which the Natchitoches Parish School District has also seen, but many of these districts don’t give out all their tax revenue. The NPSB gives out all that sales tax because it’s seen really big checks this year at Christmas and the district is anticipating that it will see that again in July. This means some of the other districts did not see the MFP shortage the NPSB saw, but the district has been looking at the ESSER II Federal funds.
Eloi has been in discussions with lawyers because there are some areas that say that stipends can be paid for Covid preparedness. So the district is looking for a mechanism in order to give a stipend to all employees. There’s a legal delineation between what Palmer suggested and what the district can do. It’s not allowed to give payment for work already produced. Eloi asked Palmer to give them the month of April to fully investigate and fully flesh out what they would like to do is look at a possible training module about Covid preparedness that everyone in the district would take after hours. It would be simply viewing a video and doing some training. They would log in for that for a time period and then they would receive a stipend. Eloi said they’re not sure what that dollar amount is yet, but it would be a flat amount to everyone.
“It would be a way to say we’re preparing for Covid and also an alternative means of showing appreciation while not doing it in a way that would put us in a bind with the legislative auditor,” Eloi said.
Eloi added that there is a group he’d like to look at to receive extra training because they were doing things during the true shutdown.
This would give employees a possible June payout so they have the entire month of May into a little bit of June to take this training and Eloi said he loves the timing because that would give employees a possible stipend in June and their tax check in July.